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Building successful B2B lead generation programs require anticipating requests and integrating into your response both an answer and an incentive to help the prospect take the next step toward making a purchase decision. This is particularly true for B2B organizations that have a complex sales process. For these organizations, an inquiry from a prospect is only the first step in the lead development process. A process that hinges on your ability to effectively maintain a dialog with and the interest of your potential customers.

To do this, you must clearly understand your prospect’s decision making process and have predefined actions that will help them move through each stage. These actions must also address the specific needs of the individual based on their stage of the buying cycle. Examples of incentives for the 4-stages of our simple buying cycle include:

  • Awareness
    This stage is designed to articulate the need and value for your product or solution without overwhelming the individual with details. Once they are aware of your basic value, offering more information in the form of white papers, case studies or webinars can help move them to the next stage.
  • Interest
    Once a prospect is interested in your solution, you need to validate your features and benefits in order to impress upon them a clear fit between your abilities and their needs. This is a critical stage as it establishes the position your company will take among all available solutions. To move your targets to the next stage in the cycle, offer product demonstrations, free samples or personal consultations as a way to further enhance their knowledge of your solution.
  • Understanding
    Prospects who reach the understanding stage are looking for more than what you can do. They want to know what makes you different from the competition. This is your time to establish the selection criteria and highlight your unique value propositions. Incentives at this stage are often related specifically to cost or implementation strategies.
  • Acceptance & Purchase
    When a prospect has achieved this stage of acceptance, your role switches from sales to validation. Validation that they have made the right decision and should continue to make similar decisions in the future. At this point in the cycle, your focus should be on securing repeat business and recommendations. Incentives at this stage should be around added features and additional service that can be bundled with their previous purchases.

How you manage these stages of the buying process and build in the appropriate incentives takes time and awareness. Anticipating the types of questions prospects will ask at each stage will help you develop processes to simplify the entire process and will enable you to guide your audience to the information that is right for them based on their sales stage. This will then enable you to address the needs of a much larger target audience and thereby produce a higher quantity and quality of lead for your organization.